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This blog is the work of an educated civilian, not of an expert in the fields discussed.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Manga Career Advice (and an aside on Tom Paine)

And Also: The Blue Jays get to the Yanks ace ("ace" of late), hang on with help of a great catch and tack on a run. But, their highly paid closer chokes. This is why they are (again) playing for third place. Meanwhile, Pelfrey pitched very well, but the Mets again lost (to be fair, once they did win in such a situation, giving MP a no decision). This time via hit by pitch. The Cubs winning streak ended at nine because they left former Yank Ted Lilly in a bit too long. Hard luck loser. Cubs won again the next day.

There are some positive reviews of Adam Sandler's new movie that suggests "light" fare can have serious overtones. As a professor once noted, graffiti and such that made remarks about the king's sexual problems was a powerful example of where things were going in the age of the French Revolution. Sitcoms and even lame movies can promote certain themes and lessons, the former sometimes rather well. One shouldn't give such things too much credit, surely, but they often deserve more than they get. They show the potential and intriguing/enjoyable breadth that freedom of speech wrought.

Marjane Satrapi and others underline the value of the graphic novel in promotion of serious ends. See also, The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You'll Ever Need, a manga approach that is creative, fun and (as Advertising Age noted) rather on point too. A young accounting wage slave learns a few lessons from an alluring mysterious woman who comes by each time he breaks a set of magical chopsticks. Diana's (Daniel H. Pink's) lessons, applicable (as the book notes) in some fashion to life in general:
1. There is no plan.
2. Think strengths, not weaknesses
3. It's not about you.
4. Persistence trumps talent.
5. Make excellent mistakes.
6. Leave an imprint.

The book covers this ground in a bit more detail, but let's take #5. The idea here is particularly that seeking rewards involves risks, a lesson that is recognized all over the place. Jesus had a parable about not keeping your gifts under a bushel ... do something with them, even if it involves some risk; a free press requires some room for error; friends and families are given some room for error, etc. See also, a recent Dan Savage column (e.g., in the Village Voice) discussing the value of break-ups ... you learn from the experience, even through the hurt. You get over it (well most do), and hopefully grow a little.

This doesn't mean acting stupid. Note the "excellent." Life includes both excellent and not so excellent mistakes, both coming with the territory. I would add that it doesn't only include personal mistakes. I am not of the "everything happens for a reason" crowd. True enough in the sense that each effect has a cause. [I won't go into God here, though I did recently skim some Paine writings, and he makes a few leaps in that department.*] But, I don't think little children suffer for the purpose of us learning how to care or whatever.

All the same, we can still get something out of bitter experiences. You know the deal with lemons and lemonade. Hopefully, overall, we come out ahead. Not always the case, but that's the hope. Anyway, you might need another career guide, if you need guides at all that is, but the book is a nice find. Serendipity in action.


* The argument of first cause has for some time seemed rather lame to me, something your average five year old questions, but for some reason growing up includes putting aside such questions. This doesn't mean all of them are wrong. Paine also promotes the natural rights idea. Again, there very well are rights that grow out of our natures. But, "rights" imply some sort of enforcement mechanism. They also -- admittedly there is a deistic issue involved here -- are artificial. They are man-made. How exactly does let's say the right to practice religion occur in a vacuum, without society establishing it?

[Christopher Hitchens' mixed bag book on Paine covers the ups and downs of his writings.]

Paine has some good ideas, including arguing each person born into this world should be considered to have a birthright based on their share of the benefits of nature (many use them for profit, but like those who benefit from the sweat of workers and those who purchase their products, they rely on something for their success). He was an early opponent of slavery, and though spent much talking about the stupidity of kings, made a strong case (to his detriment) that King Louis XVI should not be executed. And, his wicked tongue is fun.

Still, along with some tediousness, the assumptions -- some widely held -- are a bit troubling.